When painting the exterior of your home, you don’t just want it to look spectacular, you also want it to withstand the elements and last a long time. Careful preparation can double the life of your paint.
Paint doesn’t stick to dirt, so a clean surface is essential for a long lasting paint job. A pressure washer is the quickest and most effective way of cleaning exterior siding. Be careful with the nozzle you choose and don’t get too near to the surface. A concentrated stream of water has enough power to damage wood and even break windows.
Remove anything that will be affected by the painting such as shutters, screens, patio furniture, planters, light fixtures, address numbers, hose pipes.
Use drop cloths or plastic sheets to cover patio furniture, shrubs and plants. Use tarps on pathways to collect chips of old paint and dust during prep and to prevent paint splatter later.
Old flaking paint has to be removed with a scraper or wire brush. Scrape in the direction of the wood grain to prevent damaging the siding. You don’t have to scrape down to the bare wood, but you will need to feather sand the edges of remaining old paint to create a smooth surface.
If scraping is not adequate, you may need to use an electric orbit sander to finish the job. Wear a dust mask and safety glasses.
BEWARE OF LEAD
If your house was built before 1978, it may contain lead paint, which is a health concern for both children and adults. You do not want to breathe in damaging lead dust and fumes, so extra precautions must be taken. Call your local health department for information on how to check for and handle lead paint safely.
Repair any flaws in the surface with an exterior rated compound. Sand lightly when dry. Check for any cracked or rotting wood that will have to be replaced.
Remove any old caulking and re-caulk around windows, windowsills and door trims with an exterior, paintable caulk.
Use painter’s tape to protect items that cannot be removed such as electrical covers or mail slots.
Use an exterior primer on bare wood and any areas where repairs have been made, or your paint won’t stick.
TAKE YOUR TIME
I know you have heard it before, but don’t rush the preparation part. It has a huge impact on the finished product. Expect the prep and cleanup to take longer than the painting itself.